Sneakily peeping at NSFW websites to feed your curiosity about sex? The internet can be a great place to start, but its free-for-all nature means there can be some dubious resources about the subject online (and let’s be real — your friends don’t know any better).
To keep you informed, we’re here to debunk some common misconceptions (pun intended) about sex, and how you can keep yourself safe and make the right decisions when it comes to your sexual health. Let’s get started!
#1. Love = sex
“If you love me, you’ll have sex with me.”
Does this sound familiar? Let’s get one thing straight — being in a relationship is not a precursor for sex and lust should not be mistaken as love.
In fact, lust — the “desire for sexual gratification” — is driven by its own set of hormones (e.g. testosterone and estrogen), and is separate from other elements of love, such as attachment and attraction.
So this may be news to you, but sex does not define a romantic relationship. There are plenty of other forms of intimacy that can be just as fulfilling, such as holding hands, cuddling and having intimate conversations.
If you’re uncomfortable engaging in sex, you are completely entitled to wait until you are ready, or to not engage in it at all based on your values and religious beliefs. Communicate your preferences to your partner and ensure that they respect your choice.
#2. An invitation to your partner’s house implies an invitation for sex
The cool thing about consent is that it only counts when it is freely given, meaning that you cannot be forced to agree. You are also entitled to informed consent — for example, only agreeing to have protected sex. If you are uncomfortable at any time during sex, you are entitled to revoke your consent by communicating clearly to your partner that you want to stop.
And heads up peeps! Consent cannot be given by a person when intoxicated or by those under the age of 16.
#3. Women will bleed during their first time (aka “pop the cherry”)
A long time ago, a bride’s new in-laws would check her bedsheets the morning after the wedding night to see if she bled after sex as an indicator of her purity.
This stems from the age-old belief that a woman’s hymen breaks (or cherry pops, as it is known today) during her first sexual intercourse. Thankfully, we’ve since moved on from this weird “virginity test” as there is no medical evidence to support that it provides accurate insight into a person’s sexual activity.
This is because the hymen can be of any size and thickness, making it susceptible to stretching or tearing from physical activities such as cycling and gymnastics or from just using a tampon! Additionally, the hymen doesn’t have a large blood supply, which means you might not bleed much even if it is intact.
Now that we’ve learned that virginity is a social construct, remember that your worth is not determined by abstaining from sex or engaging in it.
#4. You don’t have to wear a condom if you pull out
Pregnancy occurs when semen (aka cum) enters the vagina and meets an egg. Withdrawal, or pulling out, is the act of pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation during sex to prevent pregnancy.
In theory, this may seem like withdrawal is an effective birth control method. However, pre-cum or pre-ejaculate (a fluid that comes out of a penis during sex, but before ejaculation) may contain small amounts of sperm. While pregnancy rarely happens with pre-cum, there’s still a risk of pregnancy when having sex without condoms or other birth control methods in place.
Additionally, Planned Parenthood notes that pulling out is considered unreliable in preventing pregnancies as it can be difficult to do “in the heat of the moment”. It also doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
And if semen comes in contact with the vaginal canal, conception may occur even without penetration. Although the probability is low, why take the chance?
#5. Condoms aren’t cool
We know that condoms can prevent pregnancies and STDs, but why is it that so many people still refuse to use one?
You may have heard that condoms “take the fun out of everything”. But that’s a lame excuse! Not all condoms are created equal — each differs according to type and fit whereby some are even said to enhance the experience.
Another misconception you may have heard is that “condoms ruin the mood”. This myth is debunked in this hilarious yet effective #NoExcuses campaign by Australian condom retailer Lifestyles where it was proven that a condom takes less than 5 seconds to put on.
#6. The “pill” is bad news
Firstly, the mysterious medicine we’re referring to is the combined oral contraceptive pill (aka birth control pill) for women.
It is a daily hormone medication that prevents pregnancy by stopping the release of the egg and creating an unfavourable environment for the sperm to reach the egg. When used correctly, it has a 99% success rate in preventing pregnancies.
Although birth control is its primary use, this pill is also used for a plethora of reasons such as reducing those immobilising monthly menstrual cramps, clearing up acne and even reducing a woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer by 50%!
#7. A girl can’t get knocked-up if she stands up during sex
Because standing up can keep the sperm from swimming “up” to the egg, right?
Despite this fascinating logic, when a person ejaculates, millions of sperm are propelled into the vagina, making methods such as jumping up and down or rinsing out your vagina uneffective to undo the deed.
The misinformation doesn’t stop there. Some 35% of Malaysian youths wrongly believe women can’t get pregnant from having sex the first time. The truth? There is always a possibility that a woman will get pregnant anytime she has unprotected sex.
It only takes 1 sperm cell to meet with an egg for pregnancy to happen. And yes, this also includes having sex while a female is on her period. However, this rarely happens as your ovulation is still several days away.
We hope that you’ve found this information useful and informative, in addition to helping you make responsible decisions relating to your sexual health and that of your partner’s.
We’re not encouraging you to have sex, but reports suggest a dire need for sex education among our youths. With scary statistics highlighting that some 45 teenage girls give birth each day in Malaysia and reports on youths engaging in sex without understanding the repercussions of their actions or how to be safe, here’s to hoping that sex education as a school subject comes to fruition sooner than later as the vitality of our nation depends on it.